Station 8

Jesus is Stripped


“For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Luke 23:31


What’s your most embarrassing moment? Not the one you tell others. The one you hope no one finds out?

Who have you seen metaphorically “stripped” bare? What was their circumstances?

What do you think we most common hide behind in our culture?


Romans crucified criminals naked.

The whole crucifixion process was to shame the criminal but also to shame the community that the criminal came from. As occupiers of a foreign land, the Imperial message through public executions announced, “Don’t mess with us or this will happen to you.” We win. You lose. You will lose everything. Especially your dignity.

In this image we have a cutting saw juxtaposed against the stripped limb it has just transformed. It alludes to the process being stripped bare without me having to do an illustration about public nakedness.

I don’t believe the point of this station is to commiserate on the exposed private parts of the King of Jews. Although I think it is worth taking the time to meditate on the fact that very few depictions of Jesus in art have ever shown him naked on the cross. I completely understand why. In giving reverence to the One we love in his most undignified circumstance, we honor Him with something to cover his nakedness, if only a humbled loin cloth. It’s a completely logical response to a shameful situation.

Also, let’s be honest. No one wants to enter a sacred space and see the genitals of the King of Kings. It’s not the place for that, and that’s very ok. As long as we remember though that these reverent art depictions are an editorialization of a collective triggering situation.

Because the shame of nakedness is felt deep in all of us. Nakedness does not necessarily mean not having clothes on. Nakedness can mean the loss of whatever it is you cover yourself to protect your vulnerabilities. Your relationship status. Your bank account. Your make up. Your narratives. Your capacity. Your accomplishments. Your faith. Whatever it is your vulnerable self-hides behind.

Jesus partook in not being able to hide.

Literally. And representationally to all of us.

Because every human life will be exposed to an undignified nakedness. Everyone eventually feels the shame in being stripped down to our bare selves.

If you haven’t yet… just wait. It’ll come. Everything in the dark eventually comes into the Light.

And in that Light is a great compassion and empathy for what it’s like to not be able to hide anymore.